Sunday, 10 January 2010
Aigrette from Topkapi to Paris
In one of the windows, there is a sign: this item is on a traveling tour to the exhibition in Paris: "Byzance, Istanbul" at the Grands Palais. The aigrette (headdress consisting of a white egret's feather or other decoration such as a spray of gems) of the 18th century is now seen along the Seine river.
Aigrettes were used both by the Sultan and notable women of the Harem as a symbol of power. It is known that Sultans gave the valuable aigrettes as presents or as awards.
Sultans received gifts and sent over gifts to display their supremacy in a time where the 18th century British Ambassador in Istanbul wrote that "Hafize Sultan, the wife of Sultan Mustafa II, wore a string of pearls down to her knees with a diamond as big as a turkey egg and two strings of emeralds'.
Today, in order to show glory, history and capacity to be on par, it is enough to arrange exhibitions to promote a country.
As another diplomatic ballet beyond the news, Topkapi saray hosts “Ten Thousand Years of Iran's Civilization, Two Thousand Years of Common Heritage" as a special exhibit in one of its wings. An eye to the West and another to the eastern side. Istanbul remains an intriguing bridge across the Bosphorus